By Eva Gregersen
As previously detailed in CelebrityTypes’ article on the bias against sensation, there is a bias in the field of Jungian typology that has become so pervasive that the divide between Sensation and Intuition has become the amateur’s code speak for fleshing out differences in IQ and cognitive ability, rather than actually having to do with the cognitive functions.
As Ryan Smith and I have previously quoted Horace Gray, M.D., to say:
“… in general intelligent people hold that creative imagination, whether in art, literature, mathematics, music or science, is more apt to be found in people who perceive the world by intuition than in people who perceive the world by sensation. I think studies … may not bear out that general belief.” – Gray: Freud and Jung; Their Contrasting Psychological Types
In Jung’s own time it was well-established that Sigmund Freud – one of the greatest geniuses of the 20th century – might well have been a Sensation type. Now, if we tried to reverse-engineer Freud’s type on the basis of his accomplishments – i.e. if we looked only at Freud’s accomplishments and disregarded his actual personality – it would perhaps be more likely that the inventor of an introspective discipline like psychoanalysis would have been an N type himself – a ‘white swan’ so to speak.
Yet looking at Freud’s actual life and letters, one is greeted by the impression of a man preoccupied with caution, thoroughness, and a painstaking attention to detail. As Walter Kaufmann has noted, Freud’s intellect had no trouble staying in harness over the course of the some 5000+ pages that he wrote in the course of his life. In comparison with N types like Jung, Marx, or Nietzsche, it is easy to see that Freud’s disposition was in this regard dramatically different from theirs. In other words, intellectual S types exist.
This point should really not be very controversial, but apparently it is. One reason that people have trouble accepting the existence of intellectual S types may be that they are perhaps, on average, an anomaly and that systems like typology are all about disregarding anomalies in order to postulate general rules. This tradeoff presents a dilemma, especially to the newcomer who does not understand the demarcations and limitations of the theory. What the German scientist G.C. Lichtenberg (1742 – 1799) has said may equally well be said to apply to them:
“I have always found that people of mediocre knowledge of the world expected the most from systematic [typologies]. Men who know the world are the best [typologists] and expect the least from general rules.” – Lichtenberg, quoted in Stern: C.G. Jung – The Haunted Prophet
The thing that decides a person’s type in Jung’s typology is the arrangement of the four functions within their psyche and their orientations. All other factors of a person’s personality are, in effect, irrelevant to the system.
Furthermore, Jungian typology does not discriminate on the basis of merit or ability, but on the basis of a person’s usual structure of mental operations. What muddles the picture is that there is also some connection between type itself and other factors, such as gender, intelligence, and personality styles. However, as hinted, these factors are incidental and not elements that pertain to type itself.
- CelebrityTypes: 8 Common Typing Mistakes CelebrityTypes 2013
- CelebrityTypes: On the Bias against Sensation CelebrityTypes 2013
- CelebrityTypes: Review of ‘Discovering the Mind’ CelebrityTypes 2013
- CelebrityTypes: Jung, Myers, Keirsey, etc. on Freud’s Type CelebrityTypes 2014
- Gray: Gray: Freud and Jung; Their Contrasting Psychological Types Psychological Review 1949
- Gregersen and Smith: Overview of Personality Styles CelebrityTypes 2015
- Jung: Psychological Types Princeton University Press 1976
- Stern: C.G. Jung – The Haunted Prophet George Braziller 1976